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Old 05-07-2018, 09:44 AM
ArsenalFan ArsenalFan is offline
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Default Basic Leather Care?

Hi All!

Are there any leather care products members prefer for basic external care of holsters? I'm sure I'm not alone in having accumulated an odd mixture of holsters over the years (black/brown, plain/basket weave, etc.). When some start seeming a bit dry on the outside, what are good choices for giving them a quick wipe down with to keep the leather fresh and clean without leaving residues/stains/etc.?

Thanks in advance for all comments and suggestions!
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:12 AM
diyj98 diyj98 is offline
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I have a few collectible holsters from WWII that I won't put anything on, but those holster aren't used. I won't risk treatments darkening or changing the holsters original condition.

I've used Lexol on leather that I actually use. It seems to do a good job of keeping the leather in good shape after being exposed to weather and use. I'm sure you'll get a wide range of opinions.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:06 AM
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For routine maintenance I always recommend neutral shoe polish, lightly applied to exterior surfaces, buffed with a soft cloth.

Basically just an inert wax, provides some protection against moisture and surface abrasion without saturating the leather. The neutral polish has no dye content so it won't stain clothing. If you have minor scratches or abrasions to deal with those can be touched up with leather dye (or a felt-tip of the proper color), then apply the neutral shoe polish.

Oily or greasy preparations are to be avoided because over time they will saturate the leather, softening it and overcoming the form-fitting qualities.
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by LoboGunLeather View Post
For routine maintenance I always recommend neutral shoe polish, lightly applied to exterior surfaces, buffed with a soft cloth.

Basically just an inert wax, provides some protection against moisture and surface abrasion without saturating the leather. The neutral polish has no dye content so it won't stain clothing. If you have minor scratches or abrasions to deal with those can be touched up with leather dye (or a felt-tip of the proper color), then apply the neutral shoe polish.

Oily or greasy preparations are to be avoided because over time they will saturate the leather, softening it and overcoming the form-fitting qualities.
Ditto!
The oldest holster I have, originally purchased in about 1985, is for my Model 60-0. I used this EXACT treatment to restore its luster a few years ago.
It's back to its original beauty....WITH some added character!
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:19 PM
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I've been using Fiebing's Saddle Soap. I just put a small amount and work it in. It seems to clean up my old leather holsters nicely.
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Old 05-07-2018, 01:48 PM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArsenalFan View Post
Hi All!

Are there any leather care products members prefer for basic external care of holsters? I'm sure I'm not alone in having accumulated an odd mixture of holsters over the years (black/brown, plain/basket weave, etc.). When some start seeming a bit dry on the outside, what are good choices for giving them a quick wipe down with to keep the leather fresh and clean without leaving residues/stains/etc.?

Thanks in advance for all comments and suggestions!
Not a pro. Just a hobbyist that builds some of my own holsters. Here's how I learned to take care of veg tanned leather like holsters are made from. YMMV.

Three things for treating veg tanned leather.
Cleaning - moisturizing (oiling) - protective sealing.

Cleaning - If it's dirty, use either non-flavored carbonated water (club soda) or saddle soap as a surfactant to lift the dirt off the surface of the leather. Let it dry after cleaning.

Moisturizing (oiling) - Use a light coat of non-oxidizing oil on the surface to moisturize the collagen fibers in the leather to keep it from cracking. Light coat, don't use much. You can use pure neatsfoot oil, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or lanolin. Two things with neatsfoot. It will darken the leather - the others won't. Also use pure neatsfoot oil, not neatsfoot "compound". Neatsfoot Compound is neatsfoot oil mixed with other oils (e.g. fish oil) to make it cheaper. The "other" oils may oxidize and may damage the stitching.

Sealing - Use a low melt temp wax like Carnuba or Bees Wax to seal and protect the surface of the leather.

For just maintaining a holster or knife sheath, like Lobo mentioned, I have found neutral shoe polish is easiest. IIRC, Kiwi neutral shoe polish is Carnuba wax and lanolin oil with a bit of naptha solvent to keep the wax soft.

Anyway, that's how I learned it.
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Old 05-07-2018, 01:52 PM
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I use Renaissance wax on guns, stocks and leather.
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Old 05-07-2018, 02:30 PM
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Black Rock Leather'N'Rich is the product I use on my holsters. I wipe some on, sparingly, with my fingers and wipe it off with a cloth or paper towel and then I buff the holster with a shoe brush. I picked up a jar at the local gun show last week.
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Old 05-07-2018, 02:55 PM
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Saddle soap & mink oil
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Old 05-07-2018, 02:56 PM
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I use Renaissance wax on guns, stocks and leather.

Same here.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:53 AM
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Blackrock

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Old 05-09-2018, 06:10 PM
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I have not used nor seen the Black Rock product. However, in my experience, the information provided in Lobo Gunleather's post is very good advice. It has been basically the only way I've taken care of my leather for a good many years after having learned the hard way after using others. I don't use oil or oily products on my holsters or belts. If my leather needs some color, I use as small an amount of leather dye as needed to replace or touch up existing color. I polish/buff off the dye residue with a coarse rag until I get little or no color on the rag. Then I apply the neutral shoe polish over the whole item, let it dry, and then buff with a good quality shoe shine brush and finish off by polishing with a piece of ladie's nylon hose. When finished I generally do not have problems with color transferring to my clothing and the leather looks nice.

If the neutral shoe polish is used regularly, it tends to protect the leather from drying out and the only softening that takes place is from the normal wear that will eventually somewhat soften the leather. My leather lasts a long time, but all leather will eventually deteriorate as it becomes older and under hard use. A lot depends on the original quality of the leather used to build the holster or belt! You can't start with cheap and poor quality leather and expect it to hold up long, especially with everyday hard use.
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:07 PM
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Neatsfoot oil is what I use on leather.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:14 AM
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Obenauf's oil, not their heavy duty preservative. Very sparing fingertip application. Best protection for leather on the market. No petroleum. Just beeswax and propolis. High Quality Leather Conditioning for 30 Years - Obenauf's
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Old 06-20-2018, 04:39 AM
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Sno-Seal is a great product that will condition leather without softening it. It's been around for the better part of a 100 years and contains beeswax. Works great on holsters, belts and boots after they've been cleaned. I like to use a hair dryer to melt it into the leather.

It's also good for your chapped skin. Rub a little on after using some lotion and it seals the moisture in.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:42 AM
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I also use Saddle Soap. This 30 year old little Hunter still looks great. I also "soap" up the inside to keep it nice and soft

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Old 06-20-2018, 07:30 AM
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I collect Mil surplus pistols from WWI and WWII and learned from one of the best holster repair guys in the country, that you never use anything with a petroleum distillate as it will actually break down leather over time. This won't mean much if you want to put a quick shine on a pair of your shoes or boots as you won't be keeping those for much more than a few years. However on a vintage and expensive holster it would be detrimental.
What the "gold standard" is among most holster collectors is Connolly Hide Care for Leather which you can buy on line from the usual suspects.
Yes, it is expensive but goes a long way. I've been using the same jar for several years now. It is recommended by high end car companies for their leather interiors too.
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Old 06-20-2018, 07:31 AM
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Sno-Seal is a great product that will condition leather without softening it. It's been around for the better part of a 100 years and contains beeswax. Works great on holsters, belts and boots after they've been cleaned. I like to use a hair dryer to melt it into the leather.

It's also good for your chapped skin. Rub a little on after using some lotion and it seals the moisture in.
Sno-Seal is good stuff, but keep that hair dryer away from leather! Nothing needs to be "melted into" leather. Just wipe off the excess.

I'm sure Mr. Know-it-all will soon stop by to let is know the real way to care for leather products.
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:07 AM
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I use Holster Dressing sold and recommended by Stoner holsters.(stonerholsters.com or 513-424-3800).
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:20 AM
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Many holsters I have bought were previously owned. So my practice was
and is to give them a bath as soon as they come into the house. Some
have the tobacco stink. Some were oiled, which is a no-no in my book.

A bath in warm water with a couple of drops of Dawn dishwasher soap.
(It's what they use to get the oil off the birds when there is an oil spill).
Works pretty good on oily holsters too.

After drying overnight I rub in a little dab of Blackrock Leather 'N' Rich,
wipe it off with a clean cloth, and let it dry again. When dry, buff it with
shoe brush.

Red sent me a photo a while back of a holster that had a super shine on
it. I asked him what he used. He used Fiebing's Tan Kote. I got some.
(You can get it at Tandy) and I really like the shine I can get with it.

I wish I had saved a "before" shot, but I didn't. Here is an "after" shot.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Sear View Post
Sno-Seal is good stuff, but keep that hair dryer away from leather! Nothing needs to be "melted into" leather. Just wipe off the excess.

I'm sure Mr. Know-it-all will soon stop by to let is know the real way to care for leather products.
I'm not sure who you call Mr. Know-it-all, but I am sure that it
could not be me. The exchange in posts 12 and 13 of your
thread Pawn Shop Bucheimer Snag gives me a pretty good clue.

I know it can be a little irritating, to those of us who think we
know a little, when someone corrects us. But in this particular
case the "know-it-all" actually does know just about all. He has
been incorrect a few times, but when he is he is quick to say so.

Kinda reminds me of when Harry Truman was President. In
1948 he went on a whistle stop campaign. Speaking from the
back platform of the train. (I actually got to see him. They
let school out so we could.) At one of the stops someone in
the crowd yelled "Give em Hell Harry". The President responded:
"I tell the truth and they just think it's Hell."
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:36 AM
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I normally do what is recommended for care and maintenance by the holster maker. Details vary somewhat between well known makers but for the most part, the basics are the same.

There are always those that believe they know more than the holster maker, just as there are those that believe they know more about gun care and maintenance than S&W, SIG, Glock or other firearm manufacturers. In some (although rare) cases that might be true but for most of us, it isn't.

I believe that should a problem arise, whether it is with a firearm, vehicle or even a holster, your chances of getting the problem resolved to your satisfaction is much better if you have followed the manufacturers instructions.
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:30 AM
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I used Ballistol on dried out leather with good results.
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoboGunLeather View Post
For routine maintenance I always recommend neutral shoe polish, lightly applied to exterior surfaces, buffed with a soft cloth.

Basically just an inert wax, provides some protection against moisture and surface abrasion without saturating the leather. The neutral polish has no dye content so it won't stain clothing. If you have minor scratches or abrasions to deal with those can be touched up with leather dye (or a felt-tip of the proper color), then apply the neutral shoe polish.

Oily or greasy preparations are to be avoided because over time they will saturate the leather, softening it and overcoming the form-fitting qualities.
Ray's advice is excellent though I don't follow it. That is, using neutral shoe polish has all those benefits and adds a hard shell of protection against bangs and scratches. It is not, of course, what holster manufacturers do; and so I follow in their footsteps and suggest either Fiebings harness dressing or tan kote. On the other hand they can't be had at the local suoermarket like shoe wax!
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